UNC Basketball: Top 5 Tar Heels in Final Four history

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James Worthy

1982 National Championship game vs. Georgetown

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Although Michael Jordan hit the big shot in the game, James Worthy was the motor for the Tar Heels. Worthy kept Carolina in the game versus Georgetown. In addition, Worthy was UNC’s answer to Georgetown’s super freshman center, Patrick Ewing.

Worthy stole the ball from Georgetown after Fred Brown mistook Worthy as a teammate. Worthy was then fouled with the two seconds to go in the game. Although he missed two free throws after the foul, Georgetown’s long range shot did not go in as North Carolina was victorious against Georgetown, 63-62.

Worthy finished the game with 28 points and four rebounds. He shot 76.5% from the field (made 13 of 17 field goals) and made 28.6% of this free throws (made two of his seven free throw attempts). Worthy’s heroics led to Dean Smith winning his first national championship, in addition to being named the Most Outstanding Player.

Worthy skipped his senior year with North Carolina and went to the NBA. He was selected as the No. 1 pick in the 1982 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers. Worthy had a long, successful career with the Lakers. He won three NBA championships (1988 NBA Finals MVP), was named one of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003. Plenty of reasons why Worthy had the nickname “Big Game James.”